Leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House postponed action on a controversial abortion-rights bill; one day after the Virginia Senate passed an amended version of a similar bill.
Pennsylvania’s Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) sent an email to his colleagues saying a scheduled March floor debate would be canceled because of “concerns raised by the medical community, among others.”
Under the bill, access to images and other information from ultrasounds for women seeking abortions would be required. The controversy over the procedure is based on whether requiring the ultrasound as a condition of abortion violates womens’ rights by forcing them to undergo a procedure that is not medically necessary. The act produces an image that some states force woman to view before undergoing an abortion.
The proposed Pennsylvania legislation is similar to those being considered by the, Mississippi and Virginia state houses. Pro-choice advocates have targeted such proposed legislation as invasive, unnecessary and an effort to steer women away from abortions. On Feb. 28, the Virginia Senate passed a bill, in a 21-19 vote that would require women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound 24 hours before the procedure. The test is used to help diagnose the health of the patient’s reproductive organs.
Earlier, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that would have required women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, a more invasive procedure. After the bill unleashed a wave of controversy, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) urged state House Republicans to pass a bill that mandated the more common abdominal procedure instead, even if it was considered not medically necessary or if the woman did not want to undergo the procedure.
The full Virginia General Assembly passed the bill, which is now headed to McDonnell for his signature.
The fallout surrounding the Virginia abortion bill purportedly played a role in the Pennsylvania legislature’s discussions of the bill. Mississippi is also considering a law that would require displaying a fetus’ image, including the heartbeat, to would-be abortion patients.